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Fluid-phase pinocytosis of LDL by macrophages is regarded as a novel promising target to reduce macrophage cholesterol accumulation in atherosclerotic lesions. The mechanisms of regulation of fluid-phase pinocytosis in macrophages and, specifically, the role of Akt kinases are poorly understood. We have found previously that increased lipoprotein uptake via the receptor-independent process in Akt3 kinase-deficient macrophages contributes to increased atherosclerosis in Akt3-/- mice. The mechanism by which Akt3 deficiency promotes lipoprotein uptake in macrophages is unknown. We now report that Akt3 constitutively suppresses macropinocytosis in macrophages through a novel WNK1/SGK1/Cdc42 pathway. Mechanistic studies have demonstrated that the lack of Akt3 expression in murine and human macrophages results in increased expression of with-no-lysine kinase 1 (WNK1), which, in turn, leads to increased activity of serum and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1 (SGK1). SGK1 promotes expression of the Rho family GTPase Cdc42, a positive regulator of actin assembly, cell polarization, and pinocytosis. Individual suppression of WNK1 expression, SGK1, or Cdc42 activity in Akt3-deficient macrophages rescued the phenotype. These results demonstrate that Akt3 is a specific negative regulator of macropinocytosis in macrophages. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Liang Ding, Lifang Zhang, Michael Kim, Tatiana Byzova, Eugene Podrez. Akt3 kinase suppresses pinocytosis of low-density lipoprotein by macrophages via a novel WNK/SGK1/Cdc42 protein pathway. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 Jun 02;292(22):9283-9293

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PMID: 28389565

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